Cold symptoms: runny nose
Consider: Products containing first-generation antihistamines with chlorpheniramine, such as Chlor-Tripolon Day and Night, Benylin Cold & Sinus Plus, Advil Cold & Sinus Plus or Tylenol Allergy Sinus.
How they work: Antihistamines block histamine 1 receptors, thereby preventing symptoms like a runny nose and drying up existing mucus. That blocking action also has a mild sedative effect on the brain, whether you’re using a daytime or nighttime formula.
Need to know: Be careful of taking these if you will need to do something that requires you to stay alert. Don’t combine with other sedatives such as alcohol or sleeping pills, or anything with warnings on the label about driving. ‘The elderly are more susceptible to sedation and delirium associated with these drugs,’ says Wright. Remember, too, that newer ‘non-drowsy’ antihistamines such as loratidine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Reactine) won’t work for colds because they focus on allergy-related histamine release, says Taylor.